It's easy to dismiss Henry Weingarten's Astrologers Fund as a joke. After all, Nancy Reagan was laughed at for consulting an astrologer during her husband's presidency. And the daily horoscope in the newspapers isn't terribly enlightening.
Still, the moon affects the tides from thousands of miles away and the sun creates most of the weather on earth. So, why can't the movements of the planets and the stars affect financial markets, too?
For instance, earlier this year Weingarten predicted there would be a major downdraft in the stock market on Aug. 28. It was the last total lunar eclipse, a technical and astrological convergence that culminated with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 280 points to test the 13,000 level.
Coincidence? Maybe. But it was enough to make me want to find out what Weingarten was predicting at his conference on Sept. 11, the day of the solar eclipse.The Astrologers Fund isn't a mutual fund. It's an institutional fund that manages money for high-net worth individuals and institutions. Weingarten declines to say how much he has under management. According to the fund's Web site, it returned 17% in July, 26% in August and was up 9.7% for the first two weeks of September. However, these are unaudited results. Weingarten's head isn't solely in the stars. He uses a combination of technical analysis, fundamental analysis and astrological charting to make predictions on the direction of commodities, currencies and stocks. The New York money manager says that when all three converge, a major market move is usually in the works. And most of the time, he can determine its direction, he says. "We use all the standard fundamental and technical tools, but astrology is most important," says Weingarten. "That's what makes us unique and allows us to capture market surprises most people don't see. It's out-of-the-box thinking." But he adds that if something is overwhelmingly undervalued on a fundamental basis, "I follow that. It depends on the situation." Weingarten is also a gold bug. In ordinary times, that would be another strike against him. But these aren't ordinary times. Since 2001, when he first recommended that his clients buy gold, the yellow metal's price has surged more than 250%. In early June, Weingarten predicted a major move up in the price of gold, but said that it needed to test support first. He said to watch June 27. That day, the price of gold fell $5.70 to $642.85, its lowest point in three months. It's been rallying ever since.